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By Nina J P Evans

Friday, February 26, 2010

Strawberry Swing by Shynola


I choose video because it's a beautiful animation to be honest I prefer Coldplay's earlier works, however, this video is worth checking, the project is very well crafted and imaginatively directed by Shynola. Composed using the edge of the pavement with a drain cover in shot, the asphalt road is beautifully lit (framed from above) forming the backdrop to the piece it’s dotted with chalk sticks like stars. Apart from Chris Martin and a few props the whole animation is beautifully hand drawn using coloured chalk shading and outlines typical to the medium. Shynola create a flowing stop motion animation that bends, twists, curves, distorts, shrinks and enlarges. Chris is illustrated in every direction—meaning that they had to draw and redraw, colour and reposition elements and reposition Chris over a thousand times unless its projected film onto that space, which is much more likely! Maybe Chris was green screened to strategically enable him to interact with the animation and the props within this flight of fantasy. When something is produced as brilliantly as this is, it's very difficult to tell just how it was done!

The basic premise behind this piece is a love story that is threatened by a very large squirrel with Chris dressed in a kind of Superman costume. As time is running out for the girl in distress Chris comes to the rescue. It cleverly uses the playful adaptability of the chalk medium, to interject action with humour using film and pop cultural references—animated in a naive and whimsical style.

 Mountains and meandering rivers and a skyscraper city are drawn in perspective. With the Superman costume he adopts the moves from the Matrix as he dodges arrows fired at him from the super sized rodent. I like the bit when the squirrel using a large pair of scissors cuts off Chris’ cape. At this point the chalk animation becomes more real between the chalk animation and Chris’ 3D self. I noticed in the scene where he’s swallowed by a sea monster the lyrics are ‘such a perfect day’ a little ironic. It also referenced the film Pans Labyrinth as he uses a stick of chalk to draw a large acorn to foil the squirrel’s attack.

The piece is titled Strawberry Swing maybe that refers to the girl’s name, dressed is red she looks like a Paperchase mini character, picture perfect on notebooks, tote bags and stuff. I didn’t listen too attentively to the lyrics (as I am more a fan of the Shynola than Cold Play); I did like the way that it showed Chris’ vulnerability in this dream world. At the end Chris sits up slightly dazed and two regular guys walk on to the road, they head off together leaving the coloured chalk drawings of the strawberry girl and the butterflies as last imagined.


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